Avoiding Common Contract Pitfalls: A Guide to Secure Agreements

Avoiding Common Contract Pitfalls: A Guide to Secure Agreements

Written By
Joy Cunanan
Updated on
April 24, 2024
Reading time:

Contracts are the foundation of countless business interactions, from hiring employees to selling products. They serve as a roadmap, outlining expectations, rights, and responsibilities for all parties involved. However, poorly drafted or misunderstood contracts can lead to confusion, disputes, and even financial losses. 

This blog aims to equip you with the knowledge to avoid common contract pitfalls, ensuring your agreements are clear, fair, and enforceable. 

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Pitfall #1: Lack of Clarity and Ambiguity

Vague language is the enemy of a strong contract. Unclear terms can lead to misinterpretations, disagreements, and ultimately, costly legal battles. Here's how to achieve clarity:

Define Key Terms

Ensure crucial terms like "confidential information," "completion date," or "intellectual property" have clear definitions specific to the contract. 

Use Plain Language

Avoid legalese and complex sentence structures. Strive for clear, concise writing that both parties can readily understand.

Be Specific

Don't rely on generalisations. Outline specific details like deliverables, timelines, and performance expectations.


Instead of: "The contractor will deliver the project on time."

Use: "The contractor will deliver a fully functional website with all features listed in Appendix A by no later than December 1st, 2024."

Pitfall #2: Undefined Scope of Work 

A well-defined scope of work prevents "scope creep," where additional, unanticipated tasks arise and cause delays or cost overruns.  Here's how to define scope effectively:

List Deliverables

Detail the specific outputs expected from the contract.  Are you purchasing a product, a service, or both? 

Outline Exclusions

Clearly state what is not included in the agreed-upon scope. This helps manage expectations and avoid disputes over additional work.

Include a Change Order Process

Establish a clear procedure for requesting and approving changes to the original scope, including potential adjustments to timelines and costs.


A contract for website development should specify the number of pages, functionalities, and content management system integration. It should also clarify if ongoing maintenance or future updates are included.

Pitfall #3: Inattention to Payment Terms

Unclear payment terms can lead to cash flow problems and frustration for both parties. Ensure your contract addresses these key points:

Payment Schedule

Outline the payment amounts and due dates. Specify if payments are based on milestones achieved or upon project completion.

Payment Methods

Define acceptable payment methods (e.g., check, wire transfer) and any associated fees.

Late Payment Penalties

 Include late payment penalties to incentivise timely payments. 


A contract for freelance work might specify a 50% upfront deposit, with the remaining balance due upon project completion. It could also outline a late payment penalty of 2% per week.

Pitfall #4: Neglecting Termination Clauses

Unforeseen circumstances can necessitate ending a contract prematurely.  A well-defined termination clause protects both parties in such situations. 

Termination for Cause

Specify breaches of contract that constitute grounds for termination by either party. 

Notice Period

Define the required notice period for termination, allowing for an orderly transition.

Consequences of Termination

Outline the consequences of termination, such as payment for completed work, return of materials, and confidentiality obligations.


A contract might allow termination for cause if a contractor fails to meet deadlines or deliver work of acceptable quality. It could also specify a 30-day notice period for termination without cause.

Pitfall #5: Skipping Dispute Resolution 

Disagreements can arise during the course of any contract.  Having a clear dispute resolution clause helps avoid costly litigation.

Options for Dispute Resolution

Consider including alternatives to litigation, such as mediation or arbitration, which can be faster and less expensive. 

Selection Process

Outline a process for selecting a neutral third party for mediation or arbitration.


A contract might stipulate that any disputes will be resolved through mediation before resorting to litigation. 

Additional Tips for Contract 

Seek Legal Review

While simple contracts may not require an attorney's involvement,  complex agreements benefit from professional legal review. 

Maintain Records

Keep detailed records of all communication and agreements related to the contract. This can be crucial evidence in case of a dispute.

Review and Update

Regularly review your contracts, especially for ongoing relationships, to ensure terms remain relevant and up-to-date.

Generate Well-Drafted Contracts with Lexagle.

A well-drafted contract is an essential tool for safeguarding your business interests and fostering successful collaborations. By prioritising clarity, defining expectations, and establishing clear procedures, you can minimise the risk of misunderstandings and disputes.

However, navigating the intricacies of contract law can be complex, especially for businesses with limited legal resources.  This is where leveraging technology can provide a significant advantage. This is where a contract management software comes in handy. 

Lexagle, Asia’s leading contract management platform, empowers businesses of all sizes to streamline the contracting process.  Our user-friendly platform simplifies contract creation, negotiation, approval, and storage, ensuring your agreements are secure and readily accessible. Book a demo with us today and discover how our platform can help you avoid common contract pitfalls and prime your business for success. 

Avoiding Common Contract Pitfalls: A Guide to Secure Agreements
Joy Cunanan
Joy is the Digital Transformation Manager at Lexagle. As a marketing professional in the Tech and B2B industry for over seven years, she is always on the lookout for the next best solution in the ever-changing online world. With a passion for helping businesses thrive and optimize operations, she shares her expertise in the power of contract lifecycle management and its capacity of easing the contracting process for busy organizations worldwide.

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